Megan Tietz was one of the first blogs and bloggers I got to know in this little corner of the internet. And since that first connection I have constantly felt supported and encouraged by her. She has guest posted for me before and it’s a joy to have her back.
I pull the ugly yellow fleece blanket up closer to myself, prop my feet up, and lean back in the front porch rocking chair.
It’s Election Day and she and I talk about religion and politics in the friendly, breezy way that only comes when you are completely un-invested in the choices of the other.
Our girls are all playing in the front yard and our eyes and bodies and brains are still adjusting to the time change. The sun is already slipping down low and we squint at each other while we talk and our girls giggle and I think they’re playing some version of Ninja Puppy. And it’s the birthday of one of the puppies (or one of the ninjas?) and they sing.
We rock and talk and plan meals for our other neighbor who just had surgery and take note of husbands home early and others working late. My front door slams and her storm door swings open and the girls harvest snacks for everyone from our kitchens and it’s like this until it’s too dark to play and we head in to feed hungry tummies and bathe children who smell like puppies who have been rolling in leaves.
And this is the way it is every day. It is routine and it is ritual, this community of the front porch.
Sometimes all of us from our section of the block meet up on the porch, and sometimes it’s just one or two. A constant is kids on scooters and bikes and racing and chasing and screeching and laughter. We grown-ups sit and visit, sometimes nursing cold beers and sometimes sipping from wine glasses, and the words come easily amongst friends. We tell stories on our children, stories on ourselves. Chapter by fragmented chapter, life stories get pasted together, secrets are spilled, deepest hurts and soaring triumphs and worries for the future and regrets of the past … it all tumbles out there on the concrete of our nearly century-old front porch.
My husband and I spent many years striving so hard for community.
We tried to create it, tried to lead it, tried to invite others to it, tried to cajole others into buying into the theory-made-practice. Community, for us, meant working hard and lowering expectations and living in the reality of burning out. It genuinely never occurred to us that being in community would mean just that – being. And we certainly never expected it would just show up at our literal front door.
In the six months we’ve lived in this house, we’ve found ourselves dazzled by this gift of grace, this sacred block in the middle of the city. Christ’s call to love your neighbor has always seemed so elusive and so intimidating. I feel like the past six months have been made up of moment after beautiful moment of discovering that when you know your neighbors, it’s not hard to love them at all. When you know your neighbors, ministering to one another grace comes naturally.
None of us go to the same church; some don’t do church or Jesus or any of that stuff at all. There is no agenda, nothing is planned, no conversation topics to prepare for, no video clips to watch or discuss, no entertainment other than watching our kids turn cartwheels in the yard. And sometimes I wonder if this is a little what it was like for the early church described in Acts, how they lived together and had everything in common. Affection for one another grows in the daily-ness of hours shared in cheap outdoor rockers and tree-stumps-turned-chairs.
It is a good place and a safe place and a holy place, the front porch. And God meets us there in the golden-y afternoon sun and the sweating drinks and the crunching of popcorn and the squeals of our children and the licks of a puppy dog and the heads thrown back in laughter. He is there and He whispers in my spirit “This is how it was always meant to be.”
Megan Tietz is the soothing voice and spirited pen behind SortaCrunchy.net – blog hub for all things faith, family, and natural living since 2006. She’s also the co-author of Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year. Megan and her husband Kyle make their home in Oklahoma City with daughters Dacey and Aliza Joy, both anxiously awaiting their twin brothers’ arrival in 2013. She’s an ENFP through and through, and would love to talk Myers Briggs, great books, and favorite TV with you (over a strong cup of coffee) just as long as you’ll let her.